Russia Deploys Warplanes to Syria for Mediterranean Drill, Amid Ukraine Invasion Concerns
Russia’s military deployed long-range nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets to its air base in Syria, and will carry out naval drills in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the biggest Russian naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea since the Cold War, according to The Associated Press. The military buildup comes amid concerns of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the Mediterranean naval drill that will include 15 warships and about 30 aircraft and to discuss future military cooperation, according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry issued on Tuesday. The Defense Ministry said that Shoigu also visited Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in western Syria, Russia’s main military base in Syria. Russia has supported the Assad regime throughout the over a decade-long Syrian civil war, and has helped Assad hold on to power.